The Ministry of Agriculture and Food is conducting two new actions to conserve the diversity of the genetic heritage of cultivated plants (plant genetic or phytogenetic resources).

The launching of a call for proposals, in Sept. 2017, allows to support initiatives concerning the profiling and sustainability of collections of phytogenetic resources of cultivated plants. This call for projects is provided with €300,000 to distribute. These credits from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food complement the methods already implemented by the Ministry since 2015 to create a team dedicated to structuring the conservation of these essential resources.

In total, 80 types of eggplant, 603 varieties of oats and 36 types of triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye), managed by the French Institute of Agronomic Research and belonging to national French collection, have been granted to the common pool set up by the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. These varieties will then be able to be easily accessed by any user in research or selection interested in them at the international level.

Additionally, the French seed sector is providing support to this commitment in favor of the preservation of plant genetic resources with a significant annual financial contribution that will help with genetic diversity conservation efforts.

As part of this, French Minister of Agriculture Stéphane Travert commended this commitment, which constitutes the first voluntary contribution of a national seed sector to the international treaty.

Minister Travert said that “France grants a high level of importance to this treaty, which is indispensable for meeting the sustainable development objectives of the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations.”

Varietal and seed production innovation plays a dominant role in maintaining competition and environmental performance in agriculture, by strongly relying on the plant varieties available and plant genetic resources. The issue of conservation is indeed to guarantee the availability of cultivated biodiversity for the future and in particular to contribute to the adaptation of agriculture to climate change. France ratified the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which entered into force in 2004 and which aims to conserve and sustainably use plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, and which created a common pool of plant genetic resources.